Month: June 2016

Grebes and Divers

According to a local birdy watcher expert grebes and divers can be seen in Torbay this summer. Not that we’ve seen any yet. We’re still trying to get our eyes securely logged on to shags and cormorants.

Hello Great Crested Grebe
How are you today?
Been puddling about this bay?

Great Crested Grebe edit

Bibbling and bobbling.
Thats what I done all day.
Snacking on sprats and soles.
It’s what a Grebe do best – gobbling!

What about you, you Great Northern Diver you?
Had any luck?

Great Northern Diver

I got mistaken for a duck!
Total disgrace.
And downright disrespectful.
I’m much more beautiful.
Got a completely different face

And you, you Red Necked Grebe, are you feeling grebed?
What? You’ve also been mistaken?
For what?

Red necked grebe edit

I ain’t a Duck or Diver!
Why don’t people look!
Get out their RSPB book!

Me! Yes me. This is me
Can’t you see?
A Red Throated Diver
I don’t look anything like that Grebe!

Red throated Diver edit

My goodness grebess me!
We are a touchy lot aren’t we duckies!
Sorry sorry, very sorry. You aren’t ducks of course.
Just teasing!
You’re Grebes
And you’re Divers.
Completely different, diverse.
I’ll know now. What you are.
Next time I see you all.
Paddling in the Bay.
I’ll look at these portraits!

Illustrations: Hazel Brown; Words: Ian Nisbet

Moretonhampstead Flyover

Looking out across Moretonhampstead this evening you would have seen hundreds of young jackdaws ack acking over the rooftops.

A right old party was going on up there in the twilight.

The gyrations being danced into the sky were like starlings murmurating.

Except jackdaws like to accompany their marvelous moves with a roistering running commentary.


Dug up at the Dig

Over to Ipplepen this afternoon to an archaeological dig open day.

Five years ago 150 Roman coins were found by metal detectorists at this site. In subsequent years more evidence of  extensive Roman occupation (of Devon) has been unearthed.

Read this article in The Guardian for a detailed overview of whats going on.

There were various ‘tribes’ of Britain wandering about. This is a Dumnonii.

Dumnonii 5

He’s reputed to be at least 2,500 years old. A face unknown to soap or water. Mitts made for mucking mudpies.

Then there was this Diggerdumdumii

Diggerdumdumii 2

The Diggery Dumdum had no sense of direction. It was madcapping about like a spare part. Or possibly in dire need of Tony Robinson to hold its hand. Or even more possibly, it had escaped ‘in character’ from the new Mike Leigh film about gormless diggers and dreamers in Devon, ‘Nuts on The Loose’

And here are a pair of SlobusSlobberii


A most ubiquitous of ‘peoples’ (plural intended) Slobusslobberii are not motivated by  ‘wandering about’ as such. More like, layingabout fat flat on the ground for extended periods of time (in grossly perpendicular inclinations)

Under The Tall Beeches

As an interlude from whizzy flying machines we nipped over to Compton Castle for a quiet hour.

It was closed. Not open to weekend visitors. Therefore: lets stroll around the side and up a shady secluded path to where a dozen Tall Beeches are.

‘You are very privileged to come here’ says Haze .’You are the only person that’s shared with me this special faerie place’

The tall beeches are mightily impressive. So straight, so steadfast, so strong. Nothing will bring them down. They’ll be stood here for 5 or 10 centuries more.

Their rooty nobbles are grooting out of the edge of the bank. I can see where Haze has got the inspiration for some of those faerie drawings she did (back in the olden days).

See if you can see what might be knotted together in these rooty gnarls. I could. I can.

The Thunderous Typhoon

The first ever Airshow came to Torbay this weekend.

There was a Spitfire and a Hurricane, 2 Breitling Wingwalkers, a Stikemaster, 4 Yakovlecs. On Sunday The Red Arrows zoomed in. They had to fly their ‘flat’ rather than full programme because there was too much overhanging cloud. No loops or rolls or wingovers; but plenty of wizzy flypasts and steepling turns.

The Typhoon that finished both afternoons off was the real showstopper. It tore the edge off the sky at 600 mph; we were all watching in awe – thunderstruck!

More Shagmorants

Shag and gulls 2

A shag. And 3 gulls getting in on the act.

And now only 1 black backed gull. And 3 shags. That’s better!

Shags and gull 2

If you climb out across the rocks (when the tides out) from Meadfoot beach you can get right into shag-world.

But sometimes a shag is not a shag. It could be a cormorant.

Cormorant 1

This chap (or chapess) was down on the harbour, preening and posing.

Here is a vid with the proud cormorant in it. And those shags up there on the rocks. Plus some power boats machining across the bay. Couldn’t beat the shags to the winning line though!

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet